On the morning of June 17, 1933, Frank Nash, a recently captured prisoner, was being transferred to Leavenworth Prison by four officers. The sounds of machine gun fire interrupted the lives of everyone at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, that day. When it ended, five lay dead: one prisoner and four police officers. Those are the few known facts of that day.
The Massacre is shrouded in mystery. With conflicting witness testimonies and diagrams that do not quite explain everything, there is likely to never be answers to all the questions surrounding the shooting.
The first mystery is the motive. At first, it was thought a group of mobsters wanted to free Nash. But upon further investigation, it is no longer clear if the plan was to free or kill Nash. According to witness testimonies, Nash was one of the first dead; in fact, he was shot straight in the face, not an easy mistake to make.
Nash was the first shot. One of the first bullets got him... I saw him slump over in the seat first." ~ F. J. Lackey, FBI Agent 3
[The gunman] was shooting right by Nash, and I believe he was the one that shot Nash. The first men to fall were officers. Nash was the last to be killed." ~ Mrs. West, eyewitness 3
While the testimony by Lackey proved conclusive with other evidence, most witness statements, like Mrs. West's, contradict each other. This is made more complicated by Hoover having ignored any testimony made by a person of color. There was, in fact, one women who claimed to have a perfect view of the entire event, but her testimony was thrown out because she was African American.
There was also some discrepancy involving the gunmen. While the FBI eventually concluded and pursued Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Adam Richetti, and Vernon Miller, eyewitness accounts cannot seem to agree on the number of gunmen or their appearances. Some claim the gunmen had an accomplice, and yet other claim the gunmen were working on their own.
Diagrams and FBI records also add questions to the long list of mysteries. Oddly, Nash was seated in the driver's seat when shot. Also, there is conclusive evidence shots were fired from behind the car, yet no gunmen were back there and no officers claim to have fired their guns. As more case files are found, more questions arise. Why was Nash in the driver's seat? Why did agents, some having picked up guns during the shooting, never fire? Who shot from the rear of the car? And, why do all the testimonies contradict? It seems answers will never be found.
J. Edgar Hoover immediately took over the situation. From case files, it is evident the killings made a great impact on him; these deaths would finally justify his plans for increasing the FBI's power.